The heart of man is inclined to evil by nature, which is why humanity has behaved as it has throughout history. Jesus clearly exposes the basic, evil nature of the heart of man, so the good it does is sufficient neither for carrying out the responsibilities God has laid on those He has sanctified nor for salvation itself. The human heart needs to be changed through a new creation, the spiritual workmanship of the holy God. This new creation is not merely a repair job like fixing a flat tire. The generator of goodness must be good within itself; goodness must be its essential nature.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Eight)
This “heart” issue is the reason for the apostle Paul's statement in II Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” The new convert is a new creation, a parallel to Adam and Eve in their creation. God formed them both in His image (Genesis 1:26), though the material source of them was of the earth, which God also created. Isaiah 64:8 affirms what is occurring in those whom God calls: “But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.”
In like manner, in the new creation, the new convert, it is God who calls (I Corinthians 7:15), who provides faith (Ephesians 2:8), who grants repentance (Acts 5:31), and who gives His Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32). Just as God provided the means for Adam and Eve to function responsibly toward Him, so has He also supplied the means we need to function responsibly as a new creation.
His purpose is to create us in His spiritual image, so that we have qualities of heart and character as He does. These qualities will enable us to provide leadership as members of the government He will establish under Jesus Christ at His return. The prophecy of Isaiah 9:6-7 speaks of this government:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Three)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Matthew 15:16: